Careers in dance – advice?


Receiving the right careers advice for the creative industries can be somewhat challenging. Artistic careers do not always have set routes in like other sectors do, and even advanced training does not always mean a career is guaranteed by the end of it. Often it is the combination of experience, passion, luck and talent which means someone will become a performer; formal qualifications are often outweighed entirely.

Clichés such as such as ‘it’s not what you know but who you know’ can ring so true. The arts require networking and making contacts in order to make a difference, often between succeeding or not. There is some luck involved regardless, and being in the right place at the right time – whilst another frustrating cliché – is something which is paramount. It can therefore be difficult to decide the best route to take, in early training, auditions and then further training.

Whilst getting into the arts is not straightforward it is ultimately fulfilling. Many see this as an exciting situation to be in, however there is a very real risk of young people being discouraged from following their chosen path in the arts due to the lack of specific careers advice. Unless there is someone with genuine experience of the arts who is able to offer honest and objective advice, the usual careers advice does not complement that of the arts. At some schools and colleges, careers advice is too focused on traditional careers and trades.

It is therefore important, when aiming for a creative career, to be proactive in contacting and networking with people in the industry specific to your goals, whether it’s for work experience or first-hand advice. It is also important to remember that everyone had to start somewhere, and lots of people will try to help.